Frequently Asked Questions
When should we apply?
Families begin the admissions process in the fall the year before planned enrollment. Applications for entry in Fall 2024 open on September 15, 2023.
What does it cost to apply to Parker?
The admissions application costs $125 and is valid for two years. For families applying for financial assistance, the application fee is waived. Fees for testing vary depending on the grade. Please note that all fees are nonrefundable.
What are the application requirements?
Parker enrolls students who are academically, developmentally, and socially prepared to navigate our program. To complete an application, applicants must submit previous report cards, standardized testing results (if applicable), and recommendation forms completed by current math and English teachers, and an administrator. Additionally, applicants must complete an assessment and meet with the Admissions Office for an interview.
To read a detailed explanation of the application steps, please visit our division specific pages:
When is the application deadline?
The deadline for priority consideration is February 1, 2024 with decision notification on March 8, 2024. If a family misses the priority consideration deadline, applications may still be submitted for consideration to join the waitpool.
Have you received my application materials?
Parker uses Ravenna, an online platform, to manage the admission process. In addition to registering for admissions events, families (and the applicant's current school) will use Ravenna to submit application materials and check their application status.
Follow the steps below to view your admissions checklist:
- Log in to Ravenna
- Click your child's name
- Click the "Go to application" button
- View the right side of page – a green checkmark indicates the step is complete
- Click the "Show me what's left" button for information on the incomplete steps
We process a high volume of applications, so please allow up to 48 hours for submitted materials to be marked as received.
My school district doesn’t allow teachers to submit references - can I still apply?
We are aware that some school districts don't allow students to submit teacher references, and still welcome applications from those districts.
Please inform your admissions division if your student is in this situation, and the reference requirement can be waived. We strongly encourage these applicants to submit supplemental references to aid in our application review (form available in Ravenna). Any adult not related to the student - a coach, mentor, tutor, etc. - is welcome to submit a supplemental reference.
Can my family visit campus?
Absolutely. Visiting campus is a great way to see Parker's facilities and to get a glimpse into what makes Parker distinctive - the community. Generally, the campus tour season starts in mid-to-late September, and continues throughout the application cycle. Please note that all visits must be officially scheduled through the Admissions Office - no "walk in" visitors are allowed on campus.
How should I prepare for a visit?
Before visiting, take some time to identify key aspects of the school experience that are important to you and your family. During your visit, we can tailor the campus tour to your primary interests and answer questions about the topics that are most important to you.
Ideally, ask the same questions at each campus you visit so you can compare school choices on the same criteria.
Can we see classes?
Yes! The ideal tour includes at least one brief classroom visit to allow you to experience the academic environment and the high quality of faculty while getting a feel for Parker's small class size. If your student has interest in a specific subject or area, please be sure to let the Admissions Office know while scheduling your visit.
Can we attend athletics games or arts performances?
Of course. The majority of athletic and performing arts events happen in the evening. Contact the Admissions Office for schedules and to secure tickets.
Do you offer shadow or visit days?
During the application season, students may experience Parker through campus tours and admissions events like Open House.
Each division offers different classroom visit or shadow experiences, once a student has started an application. Please contact your division for more details.
Are there openings in every grade level?
Most openings occur in Junior Kindergarten, Grade 6, and Grade 9, so it's best to apply for these grade levels when eligible; however, we consider applications to other grades based on attrition. Please inquire with the Admissions Office about availability in other grades.
How many students are admitted into each grade?
In a typical year, we will have the following number of planned openings:
Junior Kindergarten: 48 students
Senior Kindergarten: 12 students
Grade 6: 40-45 students *
Grade 9: 30-35 students *
* The number of actual new students depends on the planned opening plus attrition.
Limited spaces may be available in Grades 1-5, Grades 7 and 8, and Grades 10 and 11. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
From which school do you choose most of your students?
Parker values the opportunity to enroll students from all over San Diego County. We seek students from a variety of schools with different missions and programs. This past year, we offered places to students from 103 different public, private, and independent schools from more than 80 zip codes.
Do families with a Parker affiliation have an advantage in the admission process?
Admission is never guaranteed for any student. Students are only admitted if they demonstrate qualities important to their future success at the school.
During the application process, we do take into consideration whether a prospective student is the child of a Parker alumnus or employee, or the sibling of a current Parker student or graduate.
Legacies are defined as biological or adopted children of alumni. Employee children are defined as the biological or adopted children of full-time faculty or staff members. A sibling is defined as a biological or adopted brother or sister of a child currently enrolled at Parker.
Legacies, faculty/staff children, and siblings are notified of admissions decisions in March.
Is there an age cutoff for some grades?
Yes, the Lower School has age requirements. Children must be four by July 31st of the year they seek enrollment in the Junior Kindergarten class; five for Senior Kindergarten. Subsequent numbered elementary school grades have the same cut-off date as the children advance in age. Middle and Upper School applicants do not have birth date cut-offs.
TUITION & FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
How much is tuition? Are there additional costs?
Tuition and new student fees are set by the Board of Trustees each winter for the following year, and are announced in acceptance letters. Other expenses, which vary by grade level, include books, uniforms, transportation and some class activities. Lunch and Lower School snacks are included in tuition.
Visit the Tuition Page for details on tuition costs.
Does Parker offer financial assistance?
Parker is committed to socio-economic diversity. Approximately $7.25 million in tuition assistance was awarded to 25% of the student body based on demonstrated financial need. Parker does not offer academic or athletic scholarships.
Financial assistance applications are completed via Clarity and are due by February 1. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Parker administrators using an objective and equitable process.
Does financial assistance help beyond tuition? What about other fees?
Most additional costs (e.g., books, technology, transportation, extracurricular activities, and international travel) are discounted at the same percentage as the financial assistance award.
Will applying for financial assistance affect my child's chances of admission?
Applying for financial assistance will not impact your child’s chances of admission. A family’s economic circumstances are not considered by the Admissions Committee when making admissions decisions.
How and when will families receive the school's decision?
Applicants will be notified on March 8, 2024 via their Ravenna account.
The Admissions Committee will issue one of the following decisions:
- Admit: Student is offered enrollment, and enrollment instructions will be emailed to the student's parent(s)/guardian(s).
- Waitlist ("Waitpool"): Student is qualified for admission but is not currently offered enrollment because no spaces are available. Student will be contacted if a space becomes available. Waitpool candidates are not ranked, and a waitpool decision from a previous year does not give a candidate priority in subsequent years.
- Deny: Our program is not currently an appropriate match for the student.
Does Parker accept applications after the priority deadline?
Parker does consider late applications though most available seats will be filled by students who apply by February 1, 2024 (priority application deadline). Applicants who complete their applications after this date will be processed and considered if openings become available.
ASSESSMENTS & GRADES
Does the admissions committee have a pre-determined grade point average for admitted students?
No, however, admission to Parker is competitive, and it is important to have indicators that a student will be academically successful at Parker and make a smooth transition into our school. Other information considered in the selection process includes teacher and administrator recommendations, essays and questionnaires, and a student’s special talents, interests and accomplishments.
How much weight does the Admissions Committee give to test scores?
Test scores are only one aspect of a student’s application. Since we admit students from varied programs, these scores are regarded as one measure of their preparation for Parker.